The first exercise in part two of TAoP, Elements of Design is about positioning a single point.
I have used the first set of exercises in this part of the course as an opportunity to experiment with composition and processing. As this part of the course is about design I want to try to use the design elements rather than just photographing them, i.e. not just photograph a diagonal line but to use a diagonal line to introduce dynamism.
Michael Freeman (2007)* states that there are three positional zones:
Central – static, and usually dull
Close to the Edge – mildly eccentric, needing some justification
Slightly off Centre – moderately dynamic, without being extreme.
In fig.1, which is admittedly made up of two significant points, I am leaning towards being close to the edge. There needs to be a significant expanse of water to show that the boat and the fort are distant from the shore. I wanted the boat to be moving into space to provide movement and this dictated its position left of centre. I have chosen to include this image with the fort because the dark mass of the fort provides a counterbalance to the sea in the foreground and to the boat.
With Fig. 2 I am seeing the swan as a single point because of its bright white tone in a landscape of predominantly dark tones. It is positioned somewhere between close to the edge and off centre. The choice is about the relationship between the swan, the river and the band of light that leads the eye to the distance bridge. It is looking into mid-stream so I am suggesting the route it will take but by positioning it so far from the destination I am leaving some doubt. If I had waited for the swan to move to a more central position in the river its destination would have been more certain and it might have appeared to be drifting rather than determining its own course.
I processed this image to be quite dark (although it looks darker as a web image than in high resolution) to maximise the contrast between the swan and the river and the line of light in he river.
The walkers on the beach in fig. 3 were an idea for horizontal lines but there were not enough waves to create the number of lines required. When I reviewed the image it was apparent that it was a single point. Again the single point is positioned towards the edge. There are two dynamics, firstly that they need to walking into a large space to create a sense of the subjects being alone on the beach, a winter beach scene that is underlined by their clothing. Secondly the sea was intended to be an important part of the image with the horizontal lines leading the eye to the walkers and creating a calm scene.
The last image, fig. 4, is the most extreme positioning. The man looking out to sea is in the top corner of the picture. I wanted him to be the subject but he had to be firmly in the context of the great rocks and the worn sea defences. I took the photo from a low angle to exaggerate the size of the rocks and the height of the platform he is standing on. The whole scene is also foreshortened by the telephoto lens. The sea defences point towards the hint of the sea top left and by positioning him as a small subject to the far left it seems to suggest that he is looking into the far distance.
I have processed all these images in black and white to enable me to focus on the design elements rather than the colours.
*Freeman, Michael (2007), The Photographer’s Eye. Lewes, The Ilex Press.